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Risk Factors To Consider Before Investing In First Commonwealth Financial Corporation (NYSE:FCF)

Becky Mayes

Improving credit quality as a result of post-GFC recovery has led to a strong environment for growth in the banking sector. First Commonwealth Financial Corporation (NYSE:FCF) is a small-cap bank with a market capitalisation of US$1.71b. Its profit and value are directly impacted by its borrowers’ ability to pay which is driven by the level of economic growth. This is because growth determines the stability of a borrower’s salary as well as the level of interest rates. Risk associated with repayment is measured by bad debt which is written off as an expense, impacting First Commonwealth Financial’s bottom line. Today I will take you through some bad debt and liability measures to analyse the level of risky assets held by the bank. Looking through a risk-lens is a useful way to assess the attractiveness of First Commonwealth Financial’s a stock investment.

View our latest analysis for First Commonwealth Financial

NYSE:FCF Historical Debt August 22nd 18

Does First Commonwealth Financial Understand Its Own Risks?

The ability for First Commonwealth Financial to accurately forecast and provision for its bad loans shows it has a strong understanding of the level of risk it is taking on. If the bank provision covers more than 100% of what it actually writes off, then it is considered sensible and relatively accurate in its provisioning of bad debt. Given its high bad loan to bad debt ratio of 111.89% First Commonwealth Financial has cautiously over-provisioned 11.89% above the appropriate minimum, indicating a safe and prudent forecasting methodology, and its ability to anticipate the factors contributing to its bad loan levels.

What Is An Appropriate Level Of Risk?

First Commonwealth Financial’s operations expose it to risky assets by lending to borrowers who may not be able to repay their loans. Total loans should generally be made up of less than 3% of loans that are considered unrecoverable, also known as bad debt. When these loans are not repaid, they are written off as expenses which comes out directly from First Commonwealth Financial’s profit. Since bad loans make up a relatively small 0.81% of total assets, the bank exhibits strict bad debt management and faces low risk of default.

How Big Is First Commonwealth Financial’s Safety Net?

Handing Money Transparent

First Commonwealth Financial operates by lending out its various forms of borrowings. Customers’ deposits tend to carry the smallest risk given the relatively stable interest rate and amount available. As a rule, a bank is considered less risky if it holds a higher level of deposits. First Commonwealth Financial’s total deposit level of 88.42% of its total liabilities is very high and is well-above the sensible level of 50% for financial institutions. This may mean the bank is too cautious with its level of its safer form of borrowing and has plenty of headroom to take on risker forms of liability.

Next Steps:

FCF’s acquisition will impact the business moving forward. Keep an eye on how this decision plays out in the future, especially on its financial health and earnings growth. The list below is my go-to checks for FCF. I use Simply Wall St’s platform to keep informed about any changes in the company and market sentiment, and also use their data as the basis for my articles.

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for FCF’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for FCF’s outlook.
  2. Valuation: What is FCF worth today? Has the future growth potential already been factored into the price? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether FCF is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.